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Author:
Don Murray

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About Data    |   January 26, 2010   |   By Don Murray

Why We Like Having Fun At Safe Software

From time to time, folks have commented about Safe in the blogosphere and made the comment that Safe is something special in the industry. Wow, thanks for the kind words!

Stu’s post in particular has got me thinking that if I had to pick one thing – and only one thing – that has been responsible for our success it would have to be that we have Fun with a capital “F”.

When Dale and I started Safe in 1993 we didn’t start with a big business plan. We simply found a customer with a need and we had fun building the solution. I can still remember those early days (and nights) chatting on the phone about interfaces while we worked. I would write one part and Dale would write the other and then we would bolt it together and hey it worked. We would deliver software to our customers, and boy were we ever having fun!

Time went on and we continued to have fun, being joined by other smart people who also like to have fun. Before long we had a group of fun-loving, hard working, passionate people. The thing about fun is that the more fun people who join, the more we fun have! This fun-loving is not restricted to Safe. Look at folks like James Fee and Jason Birch. Are they having fun? One click to their blogs and the answer is obvious.

There are, however, people who do not like to have fun and hate it when other people are having “fun”. They believe that business must ONLY be serious and professional and may even try to make you feel guilty about having fun, saying that “work is not a place for fun, it is a place for work!” To them I say: What is wrong with having fun building high quality software? What is wrong with having fun making each release of FME faster? What is wrong with having fun making the next release of FME so good that the previous version seems unusable? What is wrong with giving fun, entertaining, and informative presentations that keep the audience from falling asleep?

I can assure everyone that at Safe we have “serious” and “professional” fun, all while working to make FME even more fun to use! I hope that I never work for an organization which does not enjoy having fun as once the fun leaves so does the passion, and without passion an organization is dead. Fun is the fuel for many things, like brainstorming which by definition needs to be a fun-filled crazy idea-throwing experience. It is also the fuel for excitement and passion, and can even make working hard a fun experience in and of itself. Fun and life go hand-in-hand.

What can you do to be more productive and more passionate about your job? It is as simple as having fun. At the end of the day I hope that when people think about Safe, FME, our employees and our customers that they think and feel – FUN!

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A Fun Example:
Here is just one fun example of how we have fun! I have put together a collection of some of the splash screens and splash screen concepts we have had over the years. How can you have fun with splash screens? Check them out and you decide.

(1) fme2005 (2) fme2007

(3) fme_graffiti (4)fme_wasabi

(5) fmegb

(Check out this page for other examples)

One final way to have fun – free stuff!
Some of these splash screens we shipped and some we did not, but they were all fun! Can you tell the difference between those we shipped and didn’t ship? Make your guess and I’ll send an FME 2010 t-shirt to one (random) person who gives the correct answers by the end of the week.